Cornerback Johnathan Joseph said Friday that he fully expects to play in the Texans' game at New England on Monday night.
Joseph practiced on a limited basis for the second consecutive day. The 2011 Pro Bowler has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury.
"I'm good to go," Joseph said on Friday afternoon. "I'm good to go. I practiced yesterday and today, felt fine, so I'm good to go."
Asked if he feels confident he will be in the starting lineup, Joseph said, "Yeah, no doubt. No doubt about it."
Texans coach Gary Kubiak was not ready to declare Joseph a lock to play on Friday. He said Joseph and inside linebacker Bradie James (hamstring) "should be ready to go" if they don't experience any setbacks on Saturday.
"I think we've got to keep going," Kubiak said. "It's a long week. What's today, Friday? We've still got three days before we play, and all the steps have been positive. (From) yesterday, he did more today. Same thing with Bradie. They're all heading toward playing, but I think until we get there, we have to be smart and see what's going on."
James said Thursday that he would play against the Patriots. Getting him and Joseph back would be a big boost to the Texans' defense as they face the league's number one offense.
"Words can't describe it just because I'm just happy to be back out on the field with my teammates and running around again," Joseph said of his excitement to return. Acting like a little kid out there yesterday, couldn't stop talking through the warm-up line. Guys (were) kind of giving me crap about it a little bit like, 'You can tell he's back out here because you hear him talking.'"
Cornerback Alan Ball (foot), right tackle Derek Newton (knee) and outside linebacker Brooks Reed (groin) were the only Texans players who did not practice on Friday. Ball worked with trainers on a side field while Newton and Reed stayed inside Reliant Stadium for rehab.
Newton, who suffered a patella tendon injury in Week 12, was limited at practice on Thursday.
"He got sore," Kubiak said. "That was his first workout back yesterday. Got sore on us, so we shut him down today. He will, hopefully, go back tomorrow and if the steps he takes are good over the course of the next couple of days, he could still be there. In response to his first time back on the field, we shut him down today."